Author Topic: Saturn I first stage design  (Read 17532 times)

Offline CFE

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Saturn I first stage design
« on: 07/13/2007 05:13 am »
In looking at the Saturn I (Block I&II) and Saturn IB, it makes me question the multi-tank design of the first stage.  I can only assume that the Redstone & Jupiter tanking had to be reused (instead of single kerosene & LOX tanks of larger diameter) because the tooling to build wider stages didn't exist at the time.  But the wider tooling would be developed for the aft skirt, as well as the S-IV and S-IVB stages.  In the end, did the Saturn I/IB series save any money or schedule by going with the clustered first stage tanks?
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

Offline meiza

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #1 on: 07/13/2007 11:28 am »
Here's a nice picture demonstrating how quickly the rocket scale grew:
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/misc/apmisc-SAT-1-3.jpg

Offline Jim

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RE: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #2 on: 07/13/2007 12:27 pm »
Quote
CFE - 13/7/2007  1:13 AM

In looking at the Saturn I (Block I&II) and Saturn IB, it makes me question the multi-tank design of the first stage.  I can only assume that the Redstone & Jupiter tanking had to be reused (instead of single kerosene & LOX tanks of larger diameter) because the tooling to build wider stages didn't exist at the time.  But the wider tooling would be developed for the aft skirt, as well as the S-IV and S-IVB stages.  In the end, did the Saturn I/IB series save any money or schedule by going with the clustered first stage tanks?

It was because of transport it was made of clustered tank.  It was thought it would have te be disassembled for transport and reassembled that the launch site.  

It saved some schedule to allow the first tests to happen earlier.  And it started out as a technology demonstrator vs launch vehicle

Offline edkyle99

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RE: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #3 on: 07/14/2007 03:02 am »
As Jim said, schedule, cost and transportability were factors that led to the Saturn I cluster tank design.  

The original DARPA contract that started the Saturn I (then called Juno V) effort was only $72 million and only for a static booster demonstration - and it was money provided to a U.S. Army missile development group that was, at the time (1958) already producing Redstone and Jupiter missiles by the hundreds (but that was also foreseeing the end of the Redstone production line).  

At the outset, H.H. Koelle's "Future Projects Design Branch" of the ABMA performed trade studies that evaluated use of all-new 216 inch diameter tanks versus clusters of 70 inch and 105 inch diameter tanks made using existing Redstone and Jupiter tooling.  Consideration was even given to a "parallel staging" design that would gradually shed 70 inch tanks on the way up, but the familiar tank cluster was selected because it would take the least amount of development time and money.  So too the cluster of existing 150,000 pound (later 188,000 pound) thrust engines and the use (initially) of existing Jupiter guidance and control hardware, etc..

Time was especially important, because the USSR had just launched Sputnik with what was thought to be a booster in the 1 million pound thrust class, far more powerful than anything in the U.S. inventory.   The Juno V (Saturn) contract itself said, once the program was oriented toward building a flight stage, that "the objective of the program is to develop for operational use a reliable, economical, and flexible carrier vehicle for orbital and space missions within the shortest possible time".  

The fact that the first Saturn I static test firing occurred less than three years after the project began - and that the first launch took place only five months after that - provides stark evidence of how successfully the chosen approach nailed the "shortest possible time" objective.  This success was probably won at a cost, however.  Saturn I/IB probably cost more to fly in cluster form than it would have cost if built with a single, fat tank.  But in the end only 24 flight stages were built and only 19 flew, so the low numbers had a greater impact on per-flight costs than tank design details.  

ABMA also sold the idea of transportability to DARPA, partly because it didn't know, in 1958, from where it was going to launch these massive boosters.  Thought was given to use of an equatorial launch site, for example.  ABMA had always designed its missiles to be air-transportable (Redstone and Jupiter, for example), so it simply carried on with that approach when it began designing Saturn I.  Although early Saturn boosters were designed to be taken apart and put back together in the field, that never happened.  Instead, they were transported intact on barges.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline simonbp

Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #4 on: 07/14/2007 04:07 am »
A similar story, really, as to why the R-7/Soyuz has four strap-ons...

Simon ;)

Offline Danny Dot

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #5 on: 07/14/2007 04:03 pm »
Quote
simonbp - 13/7/2007  11:07 PM

A similar story, really, as to why the R-7/Soyuz has four strap-ons...

Simon ;)

Wasn't it the R-7 that launched Sputnik?

Danny Deger
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Offline edkyle99

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #6 on: 07/14/2007 05:44 pm »
Quote
Danny Dot - 14/7/2007  11:03 AM

Quote
simonbp - 13/7/2007  11:07 PM

A similar story, really, as to why the R-7/Soyuz has four strap-ons...

Simon ;)

Wasn't it the R-7 that launched Sputnik?

Danny Deger
http://www.dannydeger.net

Yes.  R-7 (SS-6 Sapwood) was an ICBM that consisted of what today are the first two stages (core and strap on boosters) of the current Soyuz launch vehicle, in upgraded form of course.  At liftoff, R-7 generated nearly 880,000 pounds of thrust.  Today's Soyuz FG produces more than 930,000 pounds of liftoff thrust.  As of today, 1,722 R-7 based launches have been performed altogether, more than 2.5 times more than second-place Thor/Delta.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline edkyle99

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RE: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #7 on: 07/14/2007 06:20 pm »
Quote
CFE - 12/7/2007  12:13 AM

In the end, did the Saturn I/IB series save any money or schedule by going with the clustered first stage tanks?

Some more thoughts about your final question, which is hard to answer because Saturn's history ended up being determined more by politics than by its engineering.  

Saturn was developed by what was, at the time, simply the best group of rocket designers in the U.S. - the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) team commanded by General Medaris that included more than 100 German emigrees directed by Wernher von Braun.  The team had been stripped of its former mission - developing big ballistic missiles - by a 1956 DoD directive.  Saturn was essentially an "end run" - an attempt by ABMA to capture the national heavy space launch mission.  But eventually that mission, too, was given to the Air Force and the ABMA team was left to work for NASA.  The Air Force developed a series of ICBM-based space launch vehicles (Atlas, Titan, and Thor).  These cost less than Saturn simply because they were tapped from existing missile production lines.  The heavy lift DoD mission that Saturn could have handled was given to Titan IIIC.

In the end, Saturn was left with a limited mission - supporting only precursor Apollo missions, Skylab, and the Apollo-Soyuz finale.  Plans to build more powerful "Saturn C-2"" and "C-3" launch vehicles based on the original clustered booster were dropped in favor of the unsustainable Saturn V that was built to race to the moon.  A plan to develop a Saturn IB/Centaur variant that would have launched deep space missions was canceled in 1965, partly due to the Vietnam budget squeeze.  Low-rate production of a rocket that was no longer based on in-production missiles drove per-flight costs up, but so did NASA's mismanagement of its first powerhouse launcher.  Consider that the Agency built two launch complexes encompassing three launch pads that it scrapped after only seven years and 15 launches.  Consider also that it developed an upper stage (S-IV) that it only flew six times.

If it had not been shelved, and if it had not been limited by its assignment to NASA, a modernized Saturn I might be flying today as often as Russia's Proton.  NASA wouldn't be developing an Ares I launch vehicle, because it would already have had a heavy cluster booster able to do the job.  

 - Ed Kyle

Offline zerm

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #8 on: 07/14/2007 06:31 pm »
Ed- as always, your historical context is spot-on target. Always a joy to read. I don't think any of us out here could have answered the question better or more correctly. Nicely done!

Offline meiza

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #9 on: 07/14/2007 09:47 pm »
Ah, Ed, now your excellent posts brought up memories of a perfect document I read, straight from the man himself, H.H. Koelle. He's still alive, living in Berlin.

http://www.ilr.tu-berlin.de/koelle/ILR-Mitteilungen/Archive/ILR351.pdf
That documents nicely the whole Redstone-Juno-Saturn saga. Recommended reading for everyone.

Offline mike robel

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #10 on: 07/15/2007 09:30 pm »
Great document meiza.  Thanks.

The Saturn C-2 always looked a bit ungainly to me, but the C-3 is a nice looking beast.

At least the RL-10 engine is still in service, even though nothing else from Saturn Development is, although the J-2 will be reinvented.

I would have been nice to have seen a Saturn 1-F, my designation for a Saturn 1 with a single F-1 in a non-clustered 1st stage.  IT would have lent itself to strap ons for the Saturn V as well.

Offline dwmzmm

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RE: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #11 on: 07/15/2007 10:57 pm »
Quote
edkyle99 - 14/7/2007  1:20 PM

Some more thoughts about your final question, which is hard to answer because Saturn's history ended up being determined more by politics than by its engineering.  


If it had not been shelved, and if it had not been limited by its assignment to NASA, a modernized Saturn I might be flying today as often as Russia's Proton.  NASA wouldn't be developing an Ares I launch vehicle, because it would already have had a heavy cluster booster able to do the job.  

 - Ed Kyle

Two of the most important paragraphs concerning the demise of the Saturn projects; well said
Ed!  I've always thought scraping the Saturn's was a big, big mistake....
Dave, NAR # 21853 SR.

Offline Jim

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #12 on: 07/16/2007 12:37 am »
Understand about the Saturn V, but the Saturn IB was not longer needed and too expensive.   Titans took care of the needs

Offline EE Scott

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RE: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #13 on: 07/16/2007 12:39 am »
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edkyle99 - 13/7/2007  11:02 PM

snip....
 Saturn I/IB probably cost more to fly in cluster form than it would have cost if built with a single, fat tank.  But in the end only 24 flight stages were built and only 19 flew, so the low numbers had a greater impact on per-flight costs than tank design details.  

...snip
 - Ed Kyle

When did the Saturn I first stage end production?  I read that many first stages were put away in long-term storage for possible later use.  The only later use I remember was for the Apollo-Soyuz test project in 1975.  I am curious how old that Saturn first stage was that boosted the final Apollo flight in '75, i.e., how many years was it in storage?
Scott

Offline edkyle99

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RE: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #14 on: 07/16/2007 02:25 am »
Quote
EE Scott - 15/7/2007  7:39 PM

Quote
edkyle99 - 13/7/2007  11:02 PM

snip....
 Saturn I/IB probably cost more to fly in cluster form than it would have cost if built with a single, fat tank.  But in the end only 24 flight stages were built and only 19 flew, so the low numbers had a greater impact on per-flight costs than tank design details.  

...snip
 - Ed Kyle

When did the Saturn I first stage end production?  I read that many first stages were put away in long-term storage for possible later use.  The only later use I remember was for the Apollo-Soyuz test project in 1975.  I am curious how old that Saturn first stage was that boosted the final Apollo flight in '75, i.e., how many years was it in storage?

SA-206 through SA-210, the Saturn IB vehicles used for Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz, were originally manufactured in 1966-1967 and stored, then refurbished and retested in 1971-72. SA-209 did not fly and is now on display at Kennedy Space Center.

SA-211 and SA-212 were also completed in 1967 and stored.  The S-IVB stage from SA-212 was subsequently reassigned to, and became, Skylab.  The SA-212 first stage was scrapped.  SA-211 is on display today in Alabama, although the two stages are not displayed together.

Assembly of the SA-213 and SA-214 first stages was halted in August 1968, and the S-IVB stages for these vehicles were never built.  The first stages were eventually completed and shipped to Marshall Space Flight Center in 1970, probably to serve as spare parts/backup for the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs.  Both stages were subsequently scrapped.   The H-1 engines for these and other scrapped Saturn IB boosters were reassigned for use by Delta launch vehicles.

I found a photo of S-IB-14, the final Saturn IB stage, at Marshall a few years ago.  This is how the last Saturn cluster booster looked shortly after it was shipped from Michoud to Marshall in 1970.

 - Ed Kyle




Offline edkyle99

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #15 on: 07/16/2007 03:09 am »
Quote
mike robel - 15/7/2007  4:30 PM

Great document meiza.  Thanks.

The Saturn C-2 always looked a bit ungainly to me, but the C-3 is a nice looking beast.

At least the RL-10 engine is still in service, even though nothing else from Saturn Development is, although the J-2 will be reinvented.

I would have been nice to have seen a Saturn 1-F, my designation for a Saturn 1 with a single F-1 in a non-clustered 1st stage.  IT would have lent itself to strap ons for the Saturn V as well.

Keep in mind that both Saturn C-2 and C-3 went through several design iterations while they were still active.  Some of those C-2 iterations had a nice look to them and the final design came close to being built.  Saturn C-2 would have been a C-1 with a new second stage (with two to four J-2 engines) inserted between the S-1 and S-IV stages.  Notice in the following photo of the SA-6 vehicle that the launch towers were built tall enough to handle C-2.

Early on, consideration was given to replacing the center inboard cluster of four H-1 engines with a single F-1 engine.  The four outboard H-1 engines would have stayed to provide pitch, yaw, and roll control.  The resulting Saturn would have produced 2.3 million pounds of thrust.

By the way, Von Braun's favorite Saturn designs were the "B" series vehicles that would have used LOX/kerosene second stages powered by four H-1 class engines.

 - Ed Kyle




Offline CFE

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #16 on: 07/16/2007 05:59 am »
Quote
mike robel - 15/7/2007  3:30 PM

At least the RL-10 engine is still in service, even though nothing else from Saturn Development is, although the J-2 will be reinvented.

While the H-1 family of engines wasn't developed specifically for Saturn (it was part of a series of engines developed for Navaho, Atlas, Jupiter and Thor,) the family still carries on today as the RS-27.  I sometimes think about whether the RS-27 has applications after the Delta II is phased out.  It looks doubtful, because the RD-180 and upcoming RD-191 have more thrust and are more efficient due to their staged combustion cycles.

There was also another comment on this forum about how history would have been different if the Saturn IB would have stayed in production.  My thought is that a series of Salyut-style space stations, launched by Saturn IB's and serviced by Apollo CSM's, would have been a more cost-effective mission than the shuttle program turned out to be.

But it should be kept in mind that the Saturn IB could only launch a 18.6 mT payload to a 185 km orbit.  While this was superior to most of the Titans (including the Titan 3C, Titan 3E, and Titan 34,) it was later topped by the Titan IVB.  The question is whether Saturn IB had the same room for growth that the Titan series did.  While I believe that it did (Astronautix.com has several pages devoted to Saturn IB growth variants,) it's impossible to predict how an alternative history would have played out.

It should be stressed that it didn't make sense to keep both the Saturn IB and Titan production lines open at the same time, when the two launchers had similar performance.  My sense is that, had NASA and the Air Force agreed to down-select between the two boosters, the Saturn IB would have been the cheaper choice.  After all, it only had two stages, and it avoided all the hazmat concerns that accompany solid and storable liquid propellants.  At the same time, Saturn IB had excess performance for the Air Force's needs at the time.
"Black Zones" never stopped NASA from flying the shuttle.

Offline Christine

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #17 on: 07/16/2007 07:45 am »
If you replaced the redstone and jupiter cluster monstrosity with a single 6.5m tank bolted to an F-1A and stretched the S-IVB for a J-2S, we'd have to be getting into Titan-4B territory. It also would have left a path for the development of the Jarvis heavy lifter down the road.

Alas, Kennedy and Johnson got us into an idiotic and unaffordable war of choice and it was not to be. Funny how history sometimes rhymes.

Offline EE Scott

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #18 on: 07/16/2007 09:30 am »
Ed, Thanks for the great answer to my question.
Scott

Offline Jim

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Re: Saturn I first stage design
« Reply #19 on: 07/16/2007 11:52 am »
Quote
CFE - 16/7/2007  1:59 AM
 My sense is that, had NASA and the Air Force agreed to down-select between the two boosters, the Saturn IB would have been the cheaper choice.  After all, it only had two stages, and it avoided all the hazmat concerns that accompany solid and storable liquid propellants.  At the same time, Saturn IB had excess performance for the Air Force's needs at the time.


NASA and the USAF did "agree" to down select and the Titan won.  

Saturn wasn't cheaper, it had 7 tanks to build and integrate.  The hazmat issues for Titan weren't so costly, the infrastructure already existed.  The storable nature of the propellants made the GSE simpler.

The Titan had more variations that the USAF needed, 3B and 3D, which Saturn couldn't support  And then there is the lack of a west coast pad.

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